The media frenzy over the escalating coronavirus outbreak is intensifying. Social media giants such as Facebook are being forced to take measures to block advertising that claims to have a cure.
The social media monopoly is tightening up rules that have any mention of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in an attempt to stifle further fear and fake news.
According to reports, Facebook will now block any advertising that promises to cure the virus or even mentions it.
A company spokesman told Business Insider:
“We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention.”
Fake news spreads quicker than coronavirus
Misinformation and fake news revolving around the viral outbreak are rife, and social media outlets are largely responsible for its dissemination.
Last month Facebook took the step of removing false information about the virus, which according to the platform is “[fake news] that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them.”
Facebook employs a system of “fact-checkers” that analyze dubious claims and subsequently suppresses them in its newsfeeds.
It has also been widely reported that China has cracked down on any reporting on the epidemic aside from what the authoritarian regime wants to release to the public.
Meanwhile, Facebook groups have sprouted up whereby users can buy and sell face masks, most of which are overpriced. Amazon has also reported price gouging on its platform as demand skyrockets.
Conspiracy theories abound
Conspiracy theories are running wild on platforms such as Facebook and Youtube according to the BBC.
Some are even claiming that the outbreak is connected to China’s rollout of 5G networks, as the technology was launched in Wuhan weeks before the outbreak.
Another popular theory is that the virus was actually engineered in a lab in China as part of a bio-weapons project.
There is no denying that major tech companies such as Google and Facebook are still profiting from adverts pertaining to false information.
Just by their nature, they are hotbeds for such activity and firms wanting their products seen will opt for the highest impact videos or groups, which are not necessarily the most accurate ones.
Image credits: Thought Catalog, Pixabay